Many of our patients are interested in learning more about mini dental implants, or MDIs. They've heard that mini dental implants are faster, less invasive, and don't require bone grafting, and they wonder why they should bother with traditional implants when MDIs sound so promising! The reason we don’t give everyone mini dental implants is because they’re not the right fit for every patient. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Mini Dental Implants?
Mini dental implants are similar to traditional dental implants in that they are surgically inserted into the jawbone to support a restoration, but they are half the diameter of a traditional implant fixture. Another difference between the two is that traditional implant-supported restorations have three parts (the implant, the restoration that replaces your missing tooth, and an abutment to connect the two), whereas MDIs don't have an abutment and the restoration is attached directly via a ball-and-socket system.
MDIs are less expensive than standard dental implants, and the process takes less time and is usually easier on patients. Mini dental implants are implanted with only local anesthetic during a single office visit. The procedure to implant the posts takes around two hours; no sutures are required for healing, and your restorations are immediately attached to your implants, eliminating the need for a temporary restoration.
What Are the Benefits of Mini Dental Implants?
Mini dental implants are a great option for many patients. Some of the benefits of MDIs include:
- Lower cost
- Less invasive procedure
- Entire restoration is complete in a single day
- Faster recovery, with less discomfort
- No bone grafts or sinus lifts needed prior to implant surgery
Mini dental implants, like traditional dental implants, prevent and reverse jaw bone loss. Patients who are not candidates for traditional dental implants can benefit from MDIs, which offer many of the same advantages.
What Are the Disadvantages of Mini Dental Implants?
Mini dental implants make implant-based restorations available to individuals who are unable to undergo standard implant surgery, but there are several important downsides to consider:
- MDIs cannot be used in areas with little vertical bone
- More MDIs are required to support dentures and bridges than traditional dental implants
- Because mini dental implants have two pieces instead of three, the entire restoration must be replaced when damage occurs
- Mini dental implants may not be an option for replacing teeth on the upper arch
Are Mini Dental Implants Right for You?
Traditional dental implants are recommended for the majority of patients. However, there are some cases in which MDIs may be recommended instead:
- There is insufficient bone mass in the jaw to support traditional dental implants.
- There is not enough room to insert a traditional dental implant.
- A patient is not a candidate for traditional dental implant surgery for health reasons and a minimally-invasive technique must be used.
- A child or young adult has congenitally missing teeth.